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Friday, March 8, 2013

The Art of a Good Fight

"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." - Sun Tzu

This is not the post you think it is. It doesn't discuss any specific encounter or battle. It isn't Rifter versus Rifter or anything even vaguely resembling that. This is a post about good fights though. It's a post about why every fight is a good fight - for someone.

I've recently read some posts about the use of warp-core stabilizers in faction war. You may have as well. In fact, there have been some spin-off posts about the subject. I'd link them but I don't want you to think of this as a spin-off post. It really isn't. It is something I've thought about for years and the latest discussions only served to prompt me into allowing my thoughts to bleed out onto this virtual page.

Good fight, gf for short: what is it exactly? The common definition implies it is combat where either combatant has a roughly equal chance of destroying the other. It's a toss up. It can be one versus one or it can be fleet versus fleet. So long as both sides feel they can win, it's a good fight.

But that's ridiculous. At what point would I ever knowingly want to engage in a fight where I was not assured victory? I don't care that EVE Online is only a game. I don't care that capsuleers are basically immortal. All I care about is winning, or more accurately not losing.

Why isn't that philosophy lauded in New Eden? That's the best philosophy for winning a fight. Don't give the other guy a chance. If you can drop a bomb on him from a safe distance, do it. In fact, as Sun Tzu said, the best victory is the one in which you don't have to fight. Unnecessary risk is just that, unnecessary. So why not congratulate those who manage it - like the guy who, hopelessly outgunned, knew that he was at a disadvantage and planned appropriately to avoid getting squashed? Did not Sun Tzu also advise, "He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious."

Yet those who live to fight another day are put down. Goonswarm gets handed a ration of shit because they blob. Brave Newbies blob, and though they don't get as much shit shoveled their way, I've read some fairly critical stuff about what they do. We can throw e-war users into that pot as well. Since I began playing Eve Online those who use e-war have been reviled. Now there is the warp-core stabilization "controversy."

Look, the guy found a great way to get what he wanted without getting blown up. It's fracking brilliant. And all some can do is lambaste him for not giving the "good fight?" Get real. In the game of winners and losers, the only thing that matters in not waking up in a clone vat. And yet, there is this culture within EVE Online that feels we owe other capsuleers their ideal of a good fight.

No, I don't. I don't owe other capsuleers anything. What they really want is that I validate their ideal of game play while making mine subservient. What they want me to do is play the game their way instead of my way. What a bloody sense of entitlement that requires. They aren't entitled to anything and especially at my expense. In fact, they are entitled to nothing from me whether at my expense or not.

So why do they feel they are? Why do they tell me, sometimes heatedly, that undocking is consent to PvP and then ridicule me when I prevent them from blowing me up? Isn't my avoiding destruction also a PvP victory because it obviated their desired outcome? I'll wager Sun Tzu would think it is.

But time and time again I read posts by those who feel they were "cheated" out of a good fight - or worse yet - a kill mail. Wow, they really need to re-examine their own position. It is really no different than the average carebear feeling they have a right to mine unmolested and without risk in high-sec. Those who are so quick to point out that is not "the nature" of Eve Online, are so quick to cry foul when their own sense of entitlement is thwarted.

Perhaps entitlement is too strong a word, but you really can't deny they feel strongly the game should be played their way. And that just isn't how it works folks no matter how much you may want it to. That way of thinking really is no different than a carebear wanting a no-PvP flag so he won't be popped. You may be opposite sides of the coin, but you're still on the same chunk of metal.

What it all boils down to is we all want to win, but we all define winning differently. I win by not losing assets. Others feel they win by destroying my assets. When they do so, it was a good fight for them. When I thwart them, it's a good fight for me. Would it really harm the game for them to say so? I don't think it would; quite the opposite in fact. Inclusiveness can only make Eve Online stronger.

Fly Careful


  1. Aw. I thought you were going to regale us with relationship advice.


      I'm the LAST person you want giving you that sort of advice. I'll stick to carebearing thank you very much.

    2. PS: I changed the title to be a little more accurate. ;-)

  2. How can something that wasn't even a fight be a good fight. How can avoiding fights in a game where the economy revolves around asset creation and destruction be good.

    Faction war plexes in particular where created with no other purpose than creating pvp. The only reason LP rewards where added was to incentivize pvp. If they are not doing that then the LP should be removed.

    1. I won't argue the LP removal part of your comment as I happen to agree with it. It was a terribly destabilizing move economically and ruined a profitable sector of the New Eden economy. As for the rest, have you read Sun Tzu? How about Clauswitz's On War? I highly recommend them for anyone interested in tactical/strategic military theory.

  3. What a great summation of a viewpoint we share Mabrik.
    I too take great pleasure in denying others the kill they fervently desire.
    This is the essence of truly great PVP, not the short sharp shooty bit, but the tactical chess like manouvering to get your opponent into a position where you are able to be assured of a victory.

  4. I love this post! And I wish more people would write these types of posts from that general perspective. We get so many from the tip of the spear side it is refreshing to hear from the bear side.

    Eve is a sandbox and I fully support everyone's idea of what makes the game engaging and interesting for them. That said, I am a voice for my own play-style, just as you are for yours. And while I appreciate your opinion, I'd rather see more good fights that I actually consider good. Having said that, I do agree with your stance that winning is everything. The vast majority of people I explode didn't stand a chance against me, that part of my play is the pirate part. The 2% that results in an actual good fight is the fun, challenging, personal victory part.

    I've exploded ships with 4 WCS fitted, ones with cloaks and ones with both. Bring a Falcon. Hot-drop me. Whatever you want, no one is stopping you. Eve is a big place and it has room for everyone. Just know that when you do decide to undock, people like me will be hunting you.

  5. As a member of the Open University of Celestial Hardship [OUCH] I endorse this post.

    Space Bushido is a feeble concept, especially in EVE as far as I'm concerned.
    Denying a good fight often results to scorn in local on behalve of that other party.
    "Damn, that Falcon you fagg***!" is a phrase often heard.
    To us that's the icing on the cake after we collect the killmail.
    It is refreshing and stimulating to read there are other capsuleers sharing that view.

    I salute you kind sir!

    Respectfully, Dionysus Caldoron

  6. The members of Art of War Alliance and Open University of Celestial Hardship send their respects and humble approval to the author of this post.


  7. Well written but at least speaking for my part it misses the point relative to WCS. To my viewpoint it has become about game balance - much like gyrostabs or magstabs, WCS should have diminishing returns / stacking penalties.

  8. "I've recently read some posts about the use of warp-core stabilizers in faction war. You may have as well. In fact, there have been some spin-off posts about the subject. I'd link them but I don't want you to think of this as a spin-off post. It really isn't. It is something I've thought about for years and the latest discussions only served to prompt me into allowing my thoughts to bleed out onto this virtual page."

    Dude, then link the posts. At the very least they prompted you to post your stuff and no one will think any less of you for linking the other blogs. ;) We all know you're referring to Rixx Javix anyways.

  9. Fantastic post, I wish more players shared this viewpoint.

    Back when I was in FW, I used an unconventional fit to kite a pirate that had entered a plex just after I had dispatched its initial occupant. By far the best 1v1 I have ever had. Range control, keeping tackle on target, and weapon engagement control.. all factored into me getting that win. Oh and long... that fight lasted well over three minutes. Immediately following the fight I praised my opponent for the fantastic experience and his obvious skill.

    You would not believe the level of angst and crying this pirate demonstrated for all to see in local. I was actually shocked.

    Pretty clear to me what "gf" really meant to this asshat.

  10. Well said, sir. I hadn't heard of you before, but you've got another follower now. Your wisdom is inspiring.

  11. Not even Sun-Tzu can make miner-ganking sound brave or laudable.

    1. Sun-Tzu doesn't care about being brave or laudable, you fight to win.

      What miner-ganking is actually achieving he might have some issue with, but shooting up people who can't fight back is very Sun-Tzu.

  12. Good post.

    To further add to the WCS argument (you did add ECM), you can add logi, and instalock Tornadoes. People only want (and should) to fight when they know they have the advantage. However, when they get popped by an instalock Tornado, or ECM'd out of a fight, the tears flow...because you somehow cheated them out of a 'good fight' (read..chance at wining).

    In fact I believe that Jester (and I like most of his posts) did a post about 'good fights' in Syndicate and in it he actually complained about running up against logi, ecm and T3 ships.

    Amazing how general strategy and tactics about winning have been lost amongst a majority of the EVE pvp community. Maybe more people need to read The Art of War.

  13. Some people play this game as a spaceship combat game, not a optimizing metagame.

    All decent PvPers know how to farm free kills with risk free camps, blobs what not, and many understand that killing that way is really boring. They want 'good fights', they want a entertaining experience, not just yet another killmail.

    Eve is ultimately a game, and the only way to really win at a game is to have fun.

    The thing with stabs, cloakies and camps is that it makes it harder for people looking for good fights to get one, because they spend so much time chasing guys that ultimately don't want one and flying into situations they can not survive.


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